I had written an article for the Resource Guide published by Plus Group International on Intermittent Fasting (IF) 101 which will give you the crunch or what IF is all about- popular timings, pros & cons, etc. However if you would like to explore IF on a deeper level, how it affects women and from an energetic perspective, then please continue reading. Otherwise click here.
Intermittent fasting (IF) is currently the latest hack for weight loss.
It is especially popular with those looking to lose weight, improve overall health and simplify lives. It is simplified in a sense that there is an eating window so there is a specific time frame to eat and then weight loss happens. It seems like a simplied formula, easy enough for anyone to follow or really is it?
The other key thing about the eating window is the exact “timing” that matters more than "what" you are eating. At other times, during your fasting window, liquids such as water, herbal teas or broths may be consumed. Hence specific liquids are allowed.
IF is actually the modern version of what fasting used to be in many of the religious festivals. In fact, fasting has been around for centuries. For instance, the Jews have Yom Kippur, the Christians have lent, the Greeks fast for 30 days, the Muslims for Ramadan, the Jains fast when they are getting ready for death, the Shamans fast during a vision quest, the Hindus fast during Navratri. These religions fasted from an energetic perspective- for better health and spiritual guidance for deeper answers that were yearning in their souls.
Coming back to modern times, from a biological point of view, there are studies that have shown the benefits of IF such as reduction of total body toxicity, less inflammation, cell repair, release of fat-stored chemicals, anti-aging, improved organ functionality (especially the heart), insulin sensitivity and mental clarity. How is so much achieved with just fasting? Obviously, our ancient ancestors knew this.
Basically during fasting, the body actually scavenges and hunts down old molecules that are not being used, breaks them down and converts them to energy (sort of like housecleaning). Once the body cleanses itself, it is like an empty vessel. The concept of an empty vessel is literally and physically. The body is then ready to receive spiritual support and guidance from the universe. For instance, Jesus fasted for 40 days and Moses fasted before he went up the mountain to receive the 10 commandments, etc.
Besides bodily/physical changes, emotionally, you become more sensitive and aware of your feelings-making it easier to make decisions. You are more tuned in with yourself. So if you are feeling stuck energetically, fasting helps to shift that energy and open you up to guidance and newer experiences.
So how does weight loss happen?
Weight loss happens during IF since calories are restricted during the eating window and the body is burning more calories/fat at the same time - provided you are not bingeing during your eating interval.
Hence, if you are eating away during your interval mindlessly, you will not lose weight. Focusing on balancing your diet with carbohydrates, protein and fat during this time is crucial.
As mentioned in the beginning, the modern IF focuses on timings. Popular eating window timings are 14:10; 16:8; 18:6; 20:4; 24:0. For instance 16:8 means you eat for 8 hours and fast for 16. Generally, people tend to skip breakfast and eat from 1-9 pm or 12-8 pm. 24:0 is not eating for a whole day until the next E.g. lunch-to-lunch or dinner-to-dinner for any 2 non-consecutive days in a week. There is also 5:2 Diet in which 2 days of the week you restrict your calories to 500-600 and eat normal during the other 5 days.
Although IF has a host of benefits, it may not be ideal for everyone and some should avoid it altogether especially if you have diabetes, irregular blood sugar regulation, chronic degenerative disease, history of eating disorder, gallstone disease, low blood pressure or if you are underweight and/or malnourished.
Women especially ought to be more cautious if they are trying get pregnant or have hormonal issues.
There are many anecdotal reports where women’s menstrual period is halted during IF and returns once they eat normal or their insulin sensitivity deteriorates, or thyroid hormone levels are altered. However, there is a safe way for women to follow IF. Here is a guide you can follow.
Is IF something you should follow to miraculous help you lose weight?
Sure it is if this way of eating works for you, follow it. If you don’t do well with fasting, then listen to your body and avoid it altogether. The best way to improve overall health is one that you can follow and be consistent. There are always new trends to weight loss but it all boils down to eating real food, exercising, managing stress and sleeping well which are the cornerstones to long lasting vibrant health.
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